Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is naming Chrystia Freeland as deputy prime minister as part of a cabinet aimed at quelling regional divisions and pushing his government’s environmental agenda, federal officials said.
Ms. Freeland’s new role will be officially unveiled on Wednesday, with senior officials saying the Alberta-born, Toronto MP will become Mr. Trudeau’s clear second-in-command in the Liberals’ minority government. She will also take over as intergovernmental affairs minister and play a central role in the Liberals’ pledge to combat climate change and oversee dealings with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskachewan Premier Scott Moe.
After receiving praise for her role in renegotiating the North American free-trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexican governments last year, Ms. Freeland will be replaced at Global Affairs by Quebec lawyer François-Philippe Champagne, said sources with direct knowledge of the matter.
The Globe and Mail is not revealing the identities of the Liberal and government sources because they were not authorized to discuss decisions involving the cabinet publicly.
Mr. Trudeau will appoint a bigger cabinet than the 34-member team that he had going into the Oct. 21 election as part of an effort to improve the representation of various regions of his government, the sources said.
The sources added Mr. Trudeau will move Jonathan Wilkinson out of Fisheries and into the Environment portfolio. The previous holder of the position, Catherine McKenna, will move to Infrastructure, where she can promote green projects such as public transit.
Sources also said Seamus O’Regan is expected to leave Indigenous Services and take over at Natural Resources from Alberta’s Amarjeet Sohi, who lost his seat. Mr. O’Regan comes from Newfoundland, which is an oil-producing province.
The sources said former Toronto police chief Bill Blair will continue to drive the gun-control file and could be appointed to Public Safety. Mr. Blair is currently Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.
The sources said Bill Morneau will remain the Minister of Finance. In addition to focusing on the environment, the Liberals have promised to reduce the taxes of low and middle-income Canadians. Mr. Morneau will also be in charge of keeping spending in check, which will prove a challenge in a minority Parliament in which the Liberals will seek the support of the NDP or the Bloc Québécois to stay in power.
New Brunswick’s Dominic LeBlanc is expected to remain in cabinet, having recently announced that he is nearing the end of cancer treatments. Manitoba’s Jim Carr, who has recently started cancer treatments, is expected to remain a western adviser to Mr. Trudeau but may not be in a position to serve in cabinet, a source said.
Justice Minister and Attorney-General David Lametti will remain in his position, a source said. Mr. Lametti took over from Jody Wilson-Raybould in January, at which point he became responsible for SNC-Lavalin’s request for a deferred prosecution agreement on charges of fraud and bribery. To this point, the government has refused to issue an order seeking a DPA to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The cabinet appointments will aim to address concerns about the lack of MPs from Saskatchewan and Alberta in the Liberal caucus. While Ms. Freeland represents a Toronto riding, she was raised in Alberta. Mr. Wilkinson, meanwhile, grew up and worked in Saskatchewan before moving to British Columbia. He represents the riding of North Vancouver.
Mr. Trudeau will announce his cabinet at Rideau Hall on Wednesday afternoon and answer questions. In a news conference two days after the election, Mr. Trudeau said he would reflect on the message sent by voters who reduced the Liberals to a minority.
There will be changes to the Prime Minister’s Office to address concerns about a lack of voices from Quebec and the West in its top echelons. Still, chief of staff Katie Telford and senior adviser Ben Chin are expected to remain in their positions.
The Liberals committed during the election campaign to focus on clean-fuel standards, the phase-out of coal, electric vehicles, green finance, energy efficiency and renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind power.
Mr. Champagne, a protégé of former prime minister Jean Chrétien and an international lawyer who has spent years working for major companies in Europe, has several major challenges confronting him.
University of Ottawa professor Roland Paris, who served as the Prime Minister’s foreign policy adviser, described Mr. Champagne as “smart and dynamic," saying he will need to devote much of his energy to managing U.S. relations and the diplomatic deep freeze with China.
“He has to ensure that we are maintaining effective relations with the United States and be ready for any challenges that [U.S. President Donald] Trump might throw at Canada and, in the near term, that means facilitating or helping with the passage of the USMCA [United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal] through Congress,” he said. “Obviously there is the challenge of managing the situation with China.”